Thai number portability delayed

The introduction of number portability (mobile number portability – MNP) for mobile phones in Thailand has been delayed and “will take three to four months before MNP will be officially available” according to Wireless Federation (WF).

The National Telecom Committee (NTC) had set September 1 as the timeline for introducing the feature to the Thai marketplace, which would provide greater consumer choice and competition between operators (as blogged here), however it has been missed as none of the Thai operators have begun testing the feature.

From the WF post:

The [Thai] operators have been warned by NTC that they will be fined per day for failing to meet the official deadline to begin offering MNP services to customers.

The NTC has been informed that the mobile phone operators will conduct a test for the MNP system in September. Many scenarios will be used to test the system, and it will take three to four months before MNP will be officially available

Let’s hope this feature is not as delayed and stalled as the 3G process – albeit for very different reasons.

While operators may fear find their churn (rate of customers lost) increasing, on the positive side there is great potential to steal subscribers from rivals by introducing competitive tariffs, services and rates.

With 3G auctions (hopefully) on the horizon and number portability not far away, the landscape of Thailand’s mobile market could well change and become more attractive to consumers – the only question is when.